Young ham lends a hand | Local News
Ian Powell first became interested in amateur radios when he went hunting with his father. The 15-year-old said there was no cell service in some of the remote areas; However, they were not cut off from communication with others because of a mobile unit and a portable radio that her father had brought on the trips.
This initial exposure, Powell said, then developed into a personal interest in amateur radio. Additionally, he said it helped him be more social with others, which made him less shy.
“I just like talking to new people,” he said. “I spoke to a lot of nice people on the radio.”
Powell, a member of the Hermiston Amateur Radio Club, recently won the 2021 Young Ham Lends a Hand competition. The teenager Boardman was one of two young people from across the country to receive the award. Powell has been recognized for his welcoming attitude towards newcomers and their tutoring in amateur radio protocols.
Jeff Kelso, secretary / treasurer of the Hermiston club, said it is important for young people to become active in amateur radio to learn more about the vital communication skills it offers, as well as to provide services to their communities. . Additionally, he said working with radios teaches people how to solve technical problems, which can be a marketable professional skill. Plus, he touted the importance of interacting with others.
“The social aspect of amateur radio teaches young people how to communicate effectively verbally, which is not as common a skill as it once was given the prevalence of texting as the primary form of communication for most teens,” said Kelso.
Powell also shared some of the benefits of amateur radio, including talking to people, helping out at local events, and being able to communicate in an emergency.
“I think it’s important for people to familiarize themselves with ham radio because people have to know how to help in an emergency situation,” he said.
In addition to providing logistical support at local events, Kelso said local amateur radio operators communicate with each other and provide reports to the National Weather Service office in Pendleton during severe weather events. They also provide and maintain an emergency communication capability with the local sheriff’s offices through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service.
“As such, we regularly participate in exercises that test the ability of these agencies to communicate with the Oregon Emergency Management Office and FEMA via shortwave radio frequencies using both voice and radio. data, ”Kelso said.
Powell bought his own equipment about a year after becoming interested in amateur radios. Kelso said it can be a surprisingly inexpensive hobby to practice. The first handheld amateur radio he bought in 2014, which he still uses daily, can be bought for under $ 30 on Amazon. For a home or vehicle radio and antenna, Kelso said a person can expect to pay anywhere from $ 300 to $ 600.
“The best way to get started in the hobby is to ask a hobbyist questions or come to a Hermiston Amateur Radio Club meeting. We always welcome visitors and are happy to share our knowledge and experience with everyone.
The Hermiston Amateur Radio Club meets on the second Monday of each month at 7 pm at Agape House, 500 W. Harper Road, Hermiston. As well as discussing club business and technical issues and questions regarding the amateur radio hobby, they hold a testing session where anyone can take a licensing exam.
For more information on the Hermiston Amateur Radio Club, visit www.ai7ho.org.